How do you like your flowers?

I love shooting iris with their sensual curves and mocking tongue. I like them sharp and stead,  soft and dreamy, and full of motion.

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Poison Oak Colors

Poison Oak Colors #3 Poison Oak Colors #6 Poison Oak Colors #5

This morning I took a hike with some friends and the overcast skies made for perfect shooting conditions. This oak was adorned with vines of poison oak beginning to show their fall colors. With the subtle light shining through, it looked like an intricate stained glass window.

View as a Slide Show

Poison Oak Colors #2 Poison Oak Colors #1 Poison Oak Colors #4

Fern Abstractions

Fern Abstractions
Fern Abstractions by I Nancy, on Flickr

My collection of abstract light paintings is growing faster that I had anticipated. Is this just eye candy or have a struck on to something with core and substance?

Here I was on a local hike. I didn’t spare the gear for this hike as I was headed for a local waterfall: camera, 24-70mm, 17-14mm, ND and polarizer filters, tripod, shutter release. Now bear in mind that the definition of a water fall in southern California is somewhat loose. If there is water (any water) and it falls (any distance), it is a waterfall. It is often not very dramatic. The waterfall we were headed to was on the side of Boney Mountain. During the summer months it is but a trickle, during the winter just a bit more. Yesterday the water was flowing well enough but it just wasn’t pretty – just water falling down big gray granite rocks. No particularly pleasing lighting, mosses, or plants; only big brown sycamore leaves caught in the crevasses.

What I found myself attracted to were the big ferns growing on the right side of one of the pools of water. There was a nice contrast between the greens and gray/browns and a good flow of movement created by the fronds and the base of rocks and grasses. I wanted the movement to mimic the flow of growth but also catch some of the jaggy nature of the ferns. It was rather shaded, so the slow shutter speed was easy to get with a 3-stop ND (notice actually that I am at f/4 – the 3-stop almost being overkill). Standard post processing was used, adjusting the tone curve and a bit of saturation.

Spirit of the Mountains 2010 – Best in Show!

Share the wonders of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Let your photographic imagination capture the essence of this hidden jewel.

Waiting for Breakfast

Yesterday was the opening reception and announcement of the winners of the Spirit of the Mountains 2010 Photo Contest.The contest is run by the Santa Monica Mountains National Park Service and it’s goal is to promote the beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains. The winning photos are featured in OUTDOORS, their quarterly calendar of events publication. (View the Autumn 2010 edition).

I am proud to have won Best of Show for Waiting for Breakfast, a morning shot of an Argiopes Garden Spider. The image was taken on one of the Utah Trekkers training hikes for our just completed tour of southern Utah. We were headed up Boney Mountain to the Danielson Ranch site starting at the Wendy trailhead of the Ranch Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area in Newbury Park. We’ve had a pleasantly cool summer this year with an above average number of days with morning fog. As we walked the foggy trail, we passed one after another of these spiders waiting on their webs. The fog had covered each web with dew and they were lit up like a string of holiday lights by the the morning sun.

Stand Tall, below, won 1st Place in the Plants category. The image was taken on another hike with the Utah Trekkers, this time at Malibu Creek State Park. This was my first hike with a new carbon fiber Induro tripod and Acratech ball head. I was checking out the equipment for weight and the best way to carry them on our hike to The Wave. There is a small grove of redwood trees in this park and because I had the tripod with me I was able to take the triple exposure required to produce this image. I was shooting into the sun in order get the glow on the leaves but I needed 3 exposures to capture the full dynamic range of the scene. The exposures were then merged using HDR software. I also picked up an additional four 4th place awards.

Stand Tall

I am honored to have won each of these awards but am also very happy that I can lend my artwork to promoting and supporting the local Parks Service of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Reaching out

Reaching out

Reaching out, originally uploaded by I Nancy.

Here I was working with the light and layers of this cactus at the Huntington Library and Botanic Garden. This was in the Desert Hothouse. In this case I bracketed the apertures on the 100mm macro, taking shots from f/5.6 to f/2.8. In my first editing pass I thought I’d use one of the images with a little deeper depth of field. Always second guessing how far I should push my vision. Today, during the second sitting behind these images, I threw caution to the wind and went with the shallowest version I had. Enjoy.

Visiting a Giant Coreopsis

Visiting a Giant Coreopsis

Visiting a Giant Coreopsis, originally uploaded by I Nancy.

It’s like visiting the land of Dr. Seuss to see these giant coreopsis plants on Santa Cruz Island. Their base stands 3 to 4 feet tall with an additional foot of fronds which look like dill or fennel. This is topped with yellow daisy like flowers which bloom for only a month during spring.

Here the top of a giant coreopsis is bathed in sunlight with denser growth behind. A bee buzzes in for a visit.

California Poppies and Guest

California Poppies and Guest

California Poppies and Guest, originally uploaded by I Nancy.

Today I took my day off to head to the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden at 8am to see what I could see. I met one of the garden volunteers and she was telling me about different things blooming in the garden. When we turned the corner I saw the field of poppies. I’m quite sure that she was probably disappointed at my excitement. Although this is the state flower, and they bloom only during a short time in spring, they are quite common. She had hoped I would be more interested in the exotics. She didn’t know that I was looking for layers and textures and ended up shooting mostly what she might consider “the weeds”. Never-the-less, I am quite happy with my poppies for this year.

I’ve been experimenting practicing with different layers of focus. Been getting some interesting shots. I use a friend, who has a very classical eye, to judge how I am doing. He hasn’t liked many, but this one caught his attention.